Saturday, June 07, 2008

The Grammarian, XIII

In St. Luke 15:1-10 (the Gospel appointed for Trinity III), Jesus tells two parables. The first presents the image of a man who, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, leaves the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and goes after that which is lost, until he finds it; the second is of a woman with ten pieces of silver, who loses one piece, lights a candle, and sweeps the house, seeking diligently till she finds it.

Why do you suppose, boys and girls, that we have two parables here? Would not one suffice?

Well, let's see. The parables are very similar, yes; but who can tell me some differences?

The first has a man, the second, a woman.

Ah. Very important.

The first has sheep, the second, coins.


The first has a hundred, the second, ten.

Right again. Any others?

The man has more sheep than the woman has coins.

Very good.

And the rejoicing of the woman's friends is likened to that of angels.

Good. Now we're getting somewhere. So perhaps we can draw some conclusions, then: the first parable speaks of the very thing Jesus Himself (a man) is doing here, eating with publicans and sinners. And the second? It is surely no accident that the Church is the Bride of Christ. And she carries out the same activity as He does, in each particular circumstance on a lesser scale -- as also ten is less than one hundred. And Jesus sees His people as sheep, while the Church sees His people also as having value (bought with His blood).

And best of all, the rejoicing of the Church with friends and neigbors, what is that? Surely, it is the Holy Mass, the Divine Liturgy of the Church, where, as we are reminded when we hear the Preface, with angels and archangels, and with all the company of heaven, we laud and magnify Christ's holy name. The Blessed Sacrament is the Feast of eternal joy.

Now, class, if you wish to do some extra credit, go home and find some other helpful points of comparison between these two parables.


Rev. Daniel Robert Skillman said...

I've never seen this cutting that way. I think you are on to something. Thank you so much for the insight. I feel like I'm 12 and I just opened a Christmas present.

Anonymous said...

I actually took the same route Sunday as I preached on the two parables.

Another observation, perhaps worthy of the circular file: There are three parables in Luke 15 the main characters: Shepherd, Woman, Father. Shades of the Holy Trinity all working and rejoicing to find the Lost?